The rich culture of her Ukrainian Village neighborhood is the perfect place for Lydia Garry to share her passion for art and literature with children.
The mother of one has teamed up with Chicago artist Quang Hong to offer Saturday Morning Cartoons, which features free storytelling for young kids.
"Our goal is to allow the younger generation to be exposed to the creative culture and for parents to be with them," Garry says. "And I wanted to reach out to my neighborhood."
A guest reader shares a children’s book in a language other than English while Hong or other artists work.
"This neighborhood is strong in people speaking Ukrainian. I have had a few people who speak Russian offer to read," Garry says. Readings in Spanish, Polish and French also will be planned.
The program is held at Hong’s Lotus Keep Gallery, 1017 N. Western Ave., Chicago, (773) 360-7884. The free program is open to children ages 4 to 8.
"When I was little we had guys who would illustrate as stories were being read," Hong says. The programs he attended at his local library helped Hong, whose family moved from Vietnam to the U.S. when he was 4, learn to speak English. Hong hopes to help others learn through art, as he did as a child. "We wanted children to be exposed to language and be acquainted with cultures."
Children attending Saturday Morning Cartoons will have a chance to explore their creative side with face painting and other craft activities. At some point Garry and Hong hope the program expands to include other forms of storytelling such as puppetry.
The next program will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 27. There is no charge for the program. Snacks will be served.
For information, send an e-mail to Lydia Garry at Lydia@lotuskeep.com or check the Web site at lotuskeep.com.